Final Cut Studio License Agreement Interpretation

According to the Final Cut Studio License Agreement you can have the software installed on one desktop and one laptop. So what if you’re rendering on the desktop and you want to fire up the laptop and start working on a different project? Or what if you’re “using” a computer at school or work that has Final Cut Pro installed on it? Are you breaking the license agreement as a result of these actions?… Some would say yes, others say no.

The Final Cut Studio Software License Agreement says this:

You may not make the Apple Software available over a network where it could be used by multiple computers at the same time.

And there’s actually a technical limitation that enforces this term of the SLA. If you have a desktop and a laptop with the same license of Final Cut Studio installed and connected to the same network then the second computer will not launch Final Cut Pro if the other already has the application opened. You can circumvent this technical limitation by removing the second computer from the network, thereby complying with the licensing terms of the software.

If you read carefully you will discover that the license terms specifically state that the software can not be used over a network by multiple users at the same time, but it does not specifically state that one user can not use the software on a desktop and laptop at the same time.

There’s also an argument concerning the definition of the term “used” in the software license agreement. Some think that if you do not own the computer and software then you can not use it. Here’s an argumentative scenario: company owner buys the software and “uses” it for his employee editors to edit content. According to the unspecified terms of the SLA the company owner can install the software on one desktop and one laptop and “use” it for his employee editors to edit on both machines simultaneously so long as the software is not available over a network. Same situation of an instructor that is “using” the software to teach their students the application. According to the unspecified terms of the SLA you are able to install the software on one desktop and one laptop that is used by you (to teach students or allow employees to edit on or even to rent out) and since there is no specific terms that the software can not be used simultaneously on two machines at the same time expect in regard to the application being available over a network then the before-mentioned scenarios are allowed.

Any company I’ve worked for and edited with FCP has been on the company’s computer and software, not owned by me. Are you saying that an editor for a company is expected to purchase their own computer and software in order to edit for a cooperation? Unlikely. A freelance or independent editor may have their own system that they edit on, but I am talking about an editor as an employee at a cooperation (where personal computers are restricted) or Macs and software that are available at an educational institution like an Apple Authorized Training Center.

I went to Apple Campus as a requirement of becoming ACT and “used” Final Cut pro on a computer that was not owned by me. Several others have done this and will continue to do so because it’s a loophole that is apparently intended in the SLA for these reasons. Unless you’re saying that Apple is breaking their own SLA agreement and advising others to do so in their training facility requirements which states:

The AATC is responsible for:
Providing all hardware and software described in this document

The definition of the word “used” in this circumstance begs further clarification. Until that happens one can assume that the ordinary circumstance of its meaning for this situation is open to various interpretations.

It still doesn’t mean that if I owned a laptop and desktop that I can’t use both at the same time according to the SLA. Only that they can’t both be used at the same time over a network. So If I was encoding or rendering video on my desktop I could still use the laptop to edit at the same time.

This blog was posted in: Announcements
This blog was tagged: Final Cut Pro X

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He has over 15 Apple Pro Certifications for video editing and special effects including Apple Certified Trainer for Final Cut Pro X and Apple Certified Trainer for Motion 5. Jasper is also an AWS Certified Developer and AWS Certified Solutions Architect. is known worldwide for its unmatched excellence in providing top-quality Final Cut Pro X tutorials. Subscribe to our mailing list to remain updated on the latest info about Final Cut Pro X tips, tricks, and tutorials.